“It happens when you’re elite.”
True words spoken by new athletic director Martin Jarmond as he took his time to talk to the UCLA Bruins athletic programs exclusively as the university unveiled their new partnership with Nike and the Jordan Brand, #JUMPMAN.
By now we all know that the UCLA Bruins have partnered with Nike and the Jordan Brand for an apparel deal after UCLA’s previous athletic company partner, Under Armour, pulled out of their deal with the university earlier this summer. Jarmond, just a few months on the job has pulled out all the stops and signed a deal in principle with Nike and the Jordan Brand.
Making it even more special, Jarmond himself took to the field and practice facility to announce it to his marquee teams.
With the new partnership, the Bruins athletic teams were quick on the trigger as well, in a beautifully-orchestrated social media onslaught. We now have a bevy of new images to use for your phone wallpapers:
Or as your new header images on social media.
Or with new sayings like “Elite is in our DNA” as coined by our very own Jarmond.
So, with the partnership announced and the images and mantras flowing, here’s what we know about the Nike x UCLA partnership.
The deal itself is six years and will outfit the football team as well as the men’s and women’s basketball programs. The deal makes UCLA the only Pac-12 conference team to wear the brand and one of only five schools in the nation to wear it for three sports.
Nike will supply the schools’ 22 other varsity sports with uniforms, apparel, equipment and footwear, but the football and basketball programs get the specific JUMPMAN, Jordan Brand gear.
Former UCLA players Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love helped secure the partnership as Jarmond noted “They helped me understand in ways that I wasn’t fully award, how young people feel about Nike and Jordan Brand as opposed to other companies.”
The Jordan Brand issued a statement:
“Like Nike and Jordan Brand, the Bruins have a championship mind-set and their impact is felt both in sport and within the community,” Craig Williams, Jordan Brand president, said in a statement. “We are beyond excited to welcome UCLA into the family and are looking forward to partnering with some of the best athletes in the world.”
The deal also agrees to student-athlete development programs, two summer internships each year for UCLA students and an annual host selected from students for an educational experience at company headquarters.
Nike said they’re expecting Nike-branded UCLA gear to be on sale in Fall of 2021.
This is also expected to be huge for recruiting for the Bruins, as 247Sports put it: “It will absolutely benefit UCLA football recruiting.”
They also went on to discuss how the relationship with Westbrook, Jordan Brand’s headliner among active players, will have on the basketball team’s recruiting as well.
“There is obviously an aura that comes along with the Jordan Brand and the connection to Michael Jordan and an alum like Russell Westbrook and Nike. For those that believe shoes matter in recruiting, being the only West Coast school connected to the Jordan Brand carries some exclusivity and is likely to open some doors in recruiting.”
The deal is expected to go into effect on July 1.
“UCLA is elite, and our student-athletes deserve every resource in their pursuit of excellence. We sought to partner with the best in the world; that is Nike and Jordan Brand,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “Going into this process, our top priority was to secure the best quality and most innovative product to help our student-athletes and coaches compete for championships.”
The teams will continue to wear the Under Armour logo on their uniforms through the academic year but the switch will occur in the summer.
And it’s also already had a positive impact on high school athletes. From the LA Times, UCLA-bound basketball player Peyton Watson from Long Beach Poly said the following:
“I know it’s going to be big for recruits,” he said. “With the Jordan Brand, it goes with how prestigious the school is. I can’t wait to get there. For a lot of athletes, we have the same mind-set — look good, feel good, play good. It instills confidence in the play when they are wearing nice apparel.”
It’s no doubt the Bruins will look good in the process, and if the football team can ride the highs from this season and the basketball programs can continue rounding into form, the arrow will continually point up.